How Old You Have to Be to Start a Dog Walking Business

Starting a dog walking service can be a great way for kids to make money doing something they love. You might be wondering how old you have to be to start a dog walking service, and today I’m here to answer that question and more!

There is no minimum age for dog walkers. However, the younger you are, the more limitations your business will have.

It’s best to begin by walking small dogs for friends, neighbors, or family members. All minors need their parent or guardian’s consent in order to be a dog walker.

In this article, I’ll discuss the limitations that young dog walkers face, what you should consider before starting your own dog walking service, and some tips and tricks to make your business the best it can be.

 

Kids can be Dog Walkers

Kids can be dog walkers at any age. The limitations on minors as dog walkers are more common-sense than legal.

If you can find someone to hire you to walk their dog, then you can be a dog walker! However, the younger you are, the tougher finding clients will probably be.

This makes dog walking a great first job for kids who want some extra spending money, or are saving for something special.

 

You Need Permission from a Parent or Guardian

Get permission from a parent or guardian before beginning your dog walking service, and never meet with strangers alone or go to anyone’s house without consent from a trusted adult.

It is frustrating when you want to do something and you’re told no, or even when you’re afraid of being told no. It may seem simpler to go behind the back of the adult who’s taking care of you.

However, this can put you in dangerous situations. It isn’t worth taking the risk.

Ask your guardian to help you look into the laws in your area so that they can handle any legal elements of your dog walking business, such as contracts, taxes, and insurance.

 

Popular Dog Walking Sites are 18+

All of the popular dog walking sites I’ve checked only accept dog walkers who are over 18 years old. Therefore, you won’t be able to join them to start your business.

Instead, try asking dog owners in your close circle. Your friends, family, and neighbors probably have dogs who need to be walked.

In addition, these people know you and are more likely to trust you with their dogs. It’ll be nice for them to be able to hire you instead of a stranger!

If you have experience caring for their dog or already have a relationship with the pup, that’ll be even better for all of you.

Knowing the dog you’re working with makes your job easier as well.

 

There are Limitations to Minor-Run Dog Walking Services

Of course, there are things you won’t be able to do as a minor that adult dog walkers can. These will depend on your age and maturity.

Before you start your business, make sure you’re ready to take on the responsibility. To be a dog walker, you must be committed to walking dogs every day.

Dogs need daily exercise, and this doesn’t stop when you don’t feel like walking. If you have other plans or need to take a sick day, let the dog’s owner know as soon as possible so that they can make other arrangements.

You should also know about dogs and like being around them! If you’ve never walked a dog before, you might want to get some practice before you start charging for dog walking.

It’s also helpful to know basic dog commands such as “sit,” “down,” “stay,” and “heel.” This will help you to communicate with the dog more easily so they know what you want from them.

Keep in mind, though, that not all dogs you work with may have been taught these things.

If you can add to their training while working with them, though, I’ll bet their owners will be grateful.

Assuming you’re a huge dog lover who’s mature enough to begin dog walking, here are some other limitations you and your parents should consider together.

 

Large dogs

Especially if you are a child or young teenager, you shouldn’t be walking large dogs. Before you take on a new client, make sure the dog is small enough that it can’t pull you around.

Ask the owner if you can walk the dog around in an enclosed space to see how you do before committing. This way, you know for sure that you can physically handle it if the dog begins to pull.

Walking a dog that’s too large or too strong for you to handle can put you and the dog in dangerous positions.

The dog could pull you into traffic while chasing a squirrel across the street, for example. Or, they could see another dog and yank you to the ground while trying to get to them!

Even adults can have a difficult time managing huge dogs, so don’t feel bad if there’s a dog you can’t walk. Just try to find another, smaller breed to walk instead.

 

Multiple Dogs

Trying to walk multiple dogs at the same time can lead to the same problem that we addressed above. Their combined strength might be enough to tug you around or knock you over!

If you plan to walk multiple dogs, be sure to consider their combined size and strength. You should also limit the number of dogs you walk at once to avoid putting yourself or the dogs at risk.

 

Pay

As a minor, you won’t be paid as much as a professional, adult dog walker. You might struggle to even convince people to pay you minimum wage.

This is something you should prepare for. If you’re looking to get some experience and earn a bit of money, you might decide it’s okay to take a low pay.

Or, you might decide to take on fewer clients if it means only accepting quality ones who will pay you decently.

You can also provide extra services for more money, such as brushing,bathing dogs or dog sitting them while their owners are at work.

 

Clients

It takes a lot to put trust into someone to take care of your dog. When looking at potential clients, those who don’t know you might not see your responsibility or how great you are with dogs.

Sadly, you will likely be rejected by many clients due to your age. This is especially true if you are a child or young teenager.

Keep trying, and eventually someone will see how dedicated you are. In the meantime, it might be best to seek out family, friends, and neighbors who know you a little better. They’re most likely to say yes and become your customers.

They will also provide you with experience, which will cause people who don’t know you as well to be more likely to give you a chance.

 

Liability

If a dog is neglected or hurt while in your care, you and your family may be held liable for what happened.

This is a very important element to consider before becoming a dog walker.

You should learn as much as you can about walking dogs safely in order to prevent a bad situation from occurring, and always act responsibly with the dogs in your care.

In addition, your parent should look into your local laws and be prepared if something should happen, especially if you’re walking dogs for people you aren’t close with, such as family or good friends.

You should research and decide together whether insurance for your business is worth the cost, as this will depend on your circumstances.

 

Other Risks

As I discussed above, going to your new client’s houses alone can pose a risk to your safety. Walking alone can also present similar risks.

It’s best if an adult joins you on your dog walking adventures, or that you stay close to home and only walk dogs for people who you and your family know well.

If anything happens that makes you uncomfortable while in someone’s home or walking a dog, speak to a trusted adult.

Even if you’re only having a bad gut feeling, it’s worth talking about and potentially firing a client who gives you bad vibes, or to stop walking in areas where you’re uncomfortable.

It’s better to be extra cautious than to put your safety at risk.

 

Writer: Katelynn Sobus

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Sources

  1. https://careertrend.com/how-to-start-a-dog-walking-business-for-kids-13645756.html
  2. https://www.thebalanceeveryday.com/dog-walking-jobs-for-kids-2085404#:~:text=Any%20child%20who%20loves%20pets,14%20have%20limited%20employment%20opportunities
  3. https://smallbusiness.chron.com/start-dog-walking-business-kid-4449.html
  4. https://webapps.dol.gov/elaws/faq/esa/flsa/026.htm?_ga=2.190088872.2004042179.1606758346-625403558.1606758346
  5. https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc554#:~:text=You%20usually%20must%20pay%20self,employment%20of%20%24400%20or%20more
  6. https://www.irs.gov/publications/p929
  7. https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2015/11/01/how-much-exercise-does-your-dog-really-need/#:~:text=How%20much%20exercise%20your%20dog,your%20four%2Dlegged%20friend%20fit
  8. https://family.findlaw.com/parental-rights-and-liability/parental-liability.html